SPONSORED — In 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver took her passion for athletics and her desire to make them available to those with intellectual disabilities and held the first Special Olympic Games in Chicago.
Today, the Games span the globe, serving more than 4 million people in more than 170 countries with the help of 1 million coaches and volunteers, according to specialolympics.org.
Special Olympics Washington serves 17,000 athletes across the state from Ocean Shores to Spokane and Bellingham to Vancouver. It wouldn’t be possible without the more than 8,000 volunteers — and many of them are local Law Enforcement.
For years, volunteers from local Law Enforcement, spearheaded by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, have donated their time to Special Olympics Washington. These officers have spent time handing out medals, sponsoring and cheering on athletes as well as participating in fundraising events like the Law Enforcement Torch Run, raising over $500,000 for Special Olympics Washington.
This year, Law Enforcement added a new crowd-funding campaign called #GameOn that coincides with Law Enforcement Torch Run. Every dollar donated goes to Special Olympics Washington and its athletes.
A Champion’s Heart: Devon Adelman
One such athlete who has benefitted from the funds raised is 21-year-old Devon Adelman who, after being bullied in high school, was introduced to the Special Olympics.
“Being bullied and being disrespected is bad for your self-esteem,” she said. “You feel worthless and you’re nothing. Something really dies inside, and I hate that feeling so much, that I decided to do something about it. I’ve been connected with the Special Olympics, and it has helped me to put myself together again with the strength and courage to hold on and to be brave in that moment. Every step has helped me reach higher ground with my hopes and my dreams.”
Adelman began competing in skiing before adding Unified Soccer and Basketball. (Unified Sports pairs athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.) With her newfound confidence, she began trying new things such as public speaking where she’s been able to educate people about Special Olympics, as well as the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
She has spoken at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, at the U.N. in New York City and has lobbied Congress in Washington, D.C., for education rights. She even went to the White House for the Beating Odds event. She currently attends Highline College as the first in her family to do so.
Adelman attributes her success to her participation in Special Olympics Washington and to the support of her family.
How can you help?
• $20.17 helps provide state games equipment
• $50 provides an athlete with healthy meals throughout the competition
• $100 provides an athlete with accommodations for the weekend
• $150 supports an athlete for entire weekend…travel, competition & meals
Need another Reason to Support #GameOn? We’ve Got 17,000
Special Olympics Washington serves 17,000 athletes across the State of Washington. However there are over 180,000 individuals eligible to compete in Washington. There is still much work to be done. Help Special Olympics Washington reach into every corner of the state and ensure that EVERYONE has the chance to be tested like a champion!
How to Support the #GameOn Campaign
• Text GAMEON TO 91999. Access the link to make your donation
• Visit SpecialOlympicsWashington.org and access the #GameOn logo on the homepage
• Mail a contribution to: 1809 7th Ave. Suite 1509, Seattle, WA 98101
• Call: (206) 681-9385 and ask to make a donation to the #GameOn Campaign